Dr. Joe Hellerman has just released his new book Embracing Shared Ministry: Power and Status in the Early Church and Why it Matters Today. His doctoral research dealt with the social history of the early Christians, and he has authored five books. In addition to a full time schedule teaching at Biola University's Talbot School of Theology, he's a team pastor at Oceanside Christian Fellowship in El Segundo, California. I recently caught up with Joe to ask him about how the early church dealt with issues like power and status and what it can teach Church leaders today.
Q: Your new book is Embracing Shared Ministry: Power and Status in the Early Church and Why it Matters Today. As the title describes, it's about power and status in the early Church. Why is that important for church leaders today?
Joe Hellerman: It is "social given" among human beings that "wherever two or more are gathered," leaders will emerge who will exercise power and authority over others in the groups they lead. This is true in every culture, in just about any social setting, including the church. God created us this way, and he made provisions for this very phenomenon in the Bible, by establishing church offices, along with necessary qualifications and character qualities for church leaders. Since the use (and abuse) of power tends to manifest itself somewhat differently at different times and places, it is important regularly to return to the Bible's teaching on the proper use of power and authority in order to evaluate current tendencies and practices. more >>
Media consultant Phil Cooke recently listed five principles for leaders to effectively communicate the Gospel in today's high-tech social world, including the premise that expression of "Christian lingo" should be dropped.
"Forget Christian 'lingo,'" writes Cooke in his recent blog, Five Commandments for Becoming a Media Savvy Pastor. "Christian media is so filled with it's own 'lingo,' that most of the people we're trying to reach can't even understand us. But when I read the New Testament, Jesus spoke in a language and style people understood. Why have we lost that ability? Why have we created an entire vocabulary of words and phrases that only church members can understand?"
Cooke, who has produced and directed film and television programming in more than 50 countries and authored the book, Unique: Telling Your Story in the Age of Brands and Social Media, says he has helped some of the largest churches and ministries in the country create effective, high quality media outreaches. more >>
Greg Locke, lead pastor of Global Vision Bible Church in Mt. Juliet, Tenn., rode his bicycle more than 400 miles in two days to visit members of his congregation for New Year's.
"As the church grows exponentially, I become a name and a face," Locke explained. He took the trip to maintain a closer relationship with his flock, he told The Christian Post in an interview on Thursday. Locke biked approximately 240 miles on Dec. 31 and about 160 on Jan. 1 to visit 102 houses. He said he plans to finish the trip Thursday with a loop around his neighborhood, bringing the whole journey up to about 420 miles.
"We do some pretty outlandish stuff," the pastor acknowledged. In recent years, Locke has walked, biked, and sacrificed time for various humanitarian causes. In April, he walked from Murfreesboro, Tenn., to Paducah, Ky., – 240 miles – raising $10,000 for FaithUnity OutLoud, a publication which employs 155 homeless people. In October, he led five other church members on an 800-mile bicycle trip over six days to raise money for victims of sex trafficking in downtown Nashville. more >>
On Tuesday night, about 3,000 people from over 50 countries attended a prayer and worship night as part of Mission-Net's biannual congress.
"The countdown to New Year is a concert of prayer for the nations, both within Europe but beyond to the world," Jason Mandryk, author of the seventh edition of Operation World: The Definitive Prayer Guide to Every Nation, told The Christian Post in an interview Tuesday.
Mandryk described Mission-net as "basically a European Urbana," only smaller and more diverse, representing over 40 European nationalities along with others from the Americas, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East (European immigrants). On Tuesday, the Facebook account of Operation World, which teams with Mission-net, announced that about 3,000 people from over 50 countries would attend the New Year's concert. more >>
If you studied a map of Christianity in 1900, eight of 10 Christians could be found in Europe and North America. But today, the numbers in those continents are set to be dwarfed later this century by Africa and South America where there are 411 and 517 million Christians, respectively.
The Pew Research Center, a polling institute that studies religion globally and has been studying Christianity's demographic changeups, has released a short poll on its website where test-takers can see how well they have kept up with the global expansion of Christianity.
In his new book, From Times Square to Timbuktu: The Post-Christian West Meets the Non-Western Church, Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, the former general secretary of the Reformed Church in America, details the scope of Christianity's new geographic look and outlines the responsibilities that now confront the Church. more >>
King Leonidas (the famous Spartan leader of the "300" who defended Greece against the Persian invasion at Thermopylae) has got nothing on Abram who was called on by God to face an overwhelming and daunting assault by evil upon his family and region. This story sizzles. It reads like a Hollywood script but its biblical history is recorded for our benefit if we have the courage to apply it as a model and pattern of leadership put there by God. Without delay, let's roll the film and deconstruct some lessons that are powerful for us as pastors as we battle against evil in our cities.
The four evil kings seized all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food; then they went away. They also carried off Abram's nephew Lot and his possessions, since he was living in Sodom. When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he called out the 318 trained men born in his own household and went in pursuit as far as Dan. During the night Abram divided his men to attack them and routed them, pursuing them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus. He recovered all the goods and brought back his relative Lot and his possessions, together with the women and other people." Genesis 14:14-16 NIV
Impressive. more >>